ICL: Indian Cricket League

Shoaib Akhtar leaves for South Africa


Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar on Thursday night flew out of Karachi for Johannesburg via Dubai to join his teammates ahead of Pakistan’s second Test against South Africa scheduled to get underway in Port Elizabeth from January 19.

Shoaib, who earned a recall after medium pacer Umar Gul sustained an ankle injury, missed the opening Test that began at Centurion on Thursday after failing to find any earlier flight to Johannesburg.

The enigmatic Shoaib was earlier ignored by national selectors while finalising a 17-member squad for the tour of South Africa as they believed that he lacked match fitness for an international comeback.

However, Gul’s injury ahead of the first Test and Shoaib’s timely return to form in a domestic match forced the selectors to recall him in the Test squad.

Shoaib, 31, last played for Pakistan in an away one-day series against England last September and since then has been out of the team because of a doping scandal.

A day before flying for South Africa, Shoaib signed a central contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). His contract was cancelled after a two-year ban in November following a positive dope test. However, the PCB has signed him again as the player has been cleared by an appeals committee of any doping charges.

Shoaib, whose last Test appearance was almost a year ago in Karachi against India, is expected to play in the second Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth.
Source:The News

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